Homelessness is a fact of life in our modern world. Its existence is something we tend to overlook, and often times we won’t say a friendly hello to a homeless person, much less look them in the eye. As we walk by their handout jar, we may take mental note of their grocery cart that is filled to the brim with a collection of “junk.” However, sometimes those possessions can hide something very valuable, which is something that one Los Angeles woman found out firsthand.
As Dana Lee Calabrese was preparing to meet her friends for dinner, she witnessed a homeless veteran collapse on the street. The parable of the Good Samaritan is something that we’re all familiar with. Even though she had fun plans for the night, Dana Calabrese became a real life Good Samaritan when she went out of her way to help someone in need.
When Dana first noticed a homeless man collapse in the middle of the street, she was very concerned. She quickly rushed over to USMC veteran Douglas Dean Hall, who lost his leg in combat, and looked after him while waiting for help to arrive. Little did she know that her actions would have a profound effect on this man’s life.
Although this is a thought that probably wouldn’t cross most people’s minds, Dana wanted to know what would happen to this man’s possessions. So, while the vet was receiving much needed medical care, she asked one of the first responders if they were going to take Douglas’ belongings with them.
“No, are you? A million more dominoes fall a day around here.”
Dana couldn’t quite stomach that callous response, and decided to do something about it.
Dana understood that paramedics have an important job to do. But, somehow it seemed wrong to become emotionally numb to the people they were physically caring for.
“Don’t get me wrong, I understand that they have a very hard job to do and perhaps you get desensitized after working in such a large city with such an immense homeless population, but I just couldn’t bare this person losing what I believed to be all he had in the world.”
Living on the streets while the world ignores you is hard enough to deal with. But, losing one’s belongings, which is the only thing homeless people have left in this world, can bring a person to tears.
Dana knew that Douglas’ grocery cart of personal items was his lifeblood, and she wanted to protect it as if it were filled with gold. So, Dana did the only thing that she could. She grabbed the cart and wheeled it all the way home.
However, Dana didn’t know how to get in touch with Douglas after he was taken to the hospital, so she posted a photo of the cart on Facebook. She pleaded for help with finding this man!
In a happy twist of fate, it was Dana’s neighbor who found Douglas on the street. He was pretty easy to find, since he was holding up a new cardboard sign with his name on it. There was also a handwritten note stating that he was trying to get to New York.
“I’m not asking for a handout, just a hand up. Anything would help.”
Douglas told Dana that he had friends in New York, and that he really misses the city. Dana wanted to help grant this man’s wish, so she secretly setup a GoFundMe account for the former Marine.
Dana was overwhelmed by all the generous support that the crowdfunding campaign received. The GoFundMe account raised a few thousand dollars to help Douglas travel across the country. She also received messages from both friends and strangers with offers of housing for Douglas once he arrived in the Big Apple.
“I thought I would have enough to cover the ticket and maybe a little extra for the transition. But, there is quite a lot extra now…I’m extremely excited for this.”
Dana told ABC News:
“He knows that I am getting him to New York because I told him that I would make that happen. At that point, he was crying and telling me I was an angel. He also at one point screamed out ‘God is Good.'”
Dana added that they have become fast friends, and she hopes they remain friends for life. She also noted that she will now always wonder and worry about him.
What a touching story! Dana not only gave Douglas the means to get to New York, but she made a new and unexpected friend for life. This earth angel just earned her wings!